The Simpsons Arcade review

Reviews Damien McFerran 14:52, 17 Dec 2009

We review The Simpsons Arcade, a game inspired by the 1991 arcade game from Konami

If you’re old enough to remember when coin-op machines were seen as the cutting edge of interactive entertainment, chances are you’ll be intimately familiar with Konami’s excellent Simpsons’ arcade machine.

Launched in the early ‘90s when the TV show was still fresh and new, the side-scrolling fighter was a massive hit and sucked up more school kids’ pocket money than sweets and comics ever could.

Someone at EA Mobile is obviously a fan of this coin-op classic as the recently released mobile phone title The Simpsons Arcade bears more than a passing resemblance to the Konami original.

The game sees the Simpson family patriarch Homer stalking the streets of Springfield as he attempts to track down a donut that happens to contain a memory stick packed with some kind of top-secret information. Various nefarious baddies are also after the aforementioned confectionary item and will stop at nothing to prevent Homer from getting his fat fingers on it.

The premise is flimsy at best but it does at least grant a valid excuse for several stages of action-packed brawling fun. For a lazy, fat and intellectually challenged oaf, Homer sure does pack a mean punch when he’s angry. Not only is he capable of unleashing devastating three-hit combinations, he can also dash at enemies, grapple with them and throw them into the ground.

What’s more, Homer can even pick up nearby objects – such as trashcans – and use them as deadly projectiles against his foes.

All of these various abilities are handled by one action button and the eight-way D-pad. It’s a fairly simplistic control method that suits the mobile format perfectly, and the smooth animation and tight response time help to create a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Sadly though, it’s not to last. The limited move set soon makes the game feel dull and repetitive, despite the fact that it isn’t actually very long. Even an average player will be able to best the game in the space of a day.

In terms of presentation things are rather more appealing. The graphics are sharp and colourful, even putting the visuals of the legendary Konami arcade version to shame. Characters from the show are instantly recognisable and animate wonderfully, although sadly they’re noticeably less amusing here than they are in the show itself.

The Simpsons Arcade certainly can’t be faulted when it comes to picking an inspiration. The Konami coin-op was – and, some would argue, still is – a real blast to play. Sadly, this mobile homage is rather less essential, regardless of the fact that it contains some seriously lush graphics. Diehard fans of Matt Groening’s famously dysfunctional family may be willing to forgive such shortcomings, but ultimately they’ll be disappointed by the basic gameplay and limited number of levels.

The Simpsons Arcade info

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Platform: Java

Category: Arcade

Price: £5

Publisher: Gameloft

Website/Demo: Gameloft's website

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